Moonwatchers eclipsed by clouds

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MANY moongazers in the south today got a good view of the first lunar eclipse in nearly three years - but for others, clouds masked the spectacle.

The moon started to move into the Earth's shadow at 6.32am today in an event given extra significance because today is the Winter Solstice - the 'shortest day' of the year.

The total eclipse, lasting around 70 minutes, began at 7.40am as the earth's shadow blocked out the moon and skies rapidly brightened.

Some sky watchers in the Portsmouth area were among those getting the best view in the country of the beginning of the event as the initial partial phase and the beginning of the total eclipse were clearly visible in the dark morning sky. But cloud obscured the view for many.

As the total eclipse went on and dawn approached, the moon dropped into the western sky and out of view.

Did you photograph the eclipse? E-mail your pictures to us at pictures@thenews.co.uk

Among the many skywatchers ready with cameras today was Richard Cooke, of Chidham in West Sussex.

He said: 'I was ready for the skies over the south under the right conditions to turn a dark shade of red this morning as the moon moved into the Earth's shadow in a rare lunar eclipse.

'Unfortunately in Chidham West Sussex the cloud and mist came in and blocked my view! I took what photographs I could from inside my car with a Canon 400D digital camera with a 300m lens resting on a cushion on my open car window.'